Japan Society of Fairfield County
Annual Meeting 2012

Sunday November 11, 2012

    The 2012 Annual Meeting of the Japan Society of Fairfield County took place at Bush Holley House in Greenwich on Sunday, November 11 at noon. Hurricane Sandy delayed the meeting by one week. President Vernon Beck began the meeting with some brief comments about Armistice Day, World War I, and Japan's involvement therein. Director Mito Mardin led our traditional champagne toast. We were then greeted by Yoshito Yamashita, Deputy Director of the Japan Information Agency, and neighbor of Bush Holley House.  He was joined by Masakazu Kigure, Cultural Attache from Japan's consulate in New York City. We enjoyed a delicious potluck luncheon prepared by the very talented members of our society. After lunch, Vernon began the meeting with the poem Injun Summer which ran in the Chicago Tribune from about 1907-2007, ending with the disappearance of corn shocks and leaf burning in the US. He then showed a field of rice shocks he photographed a few weeks earlier in Japan. We were blessed by a beautiful warm clear day for our meeting - a typical Indian Summer day. The Annual Report of the society followed.  The Earthquake Tsunami Relief Program was closed at the beginning of 2012 and $48,228.96 was sent to the Japan Red Cross.  We did not restart the pre-Thanksgiving Banquet this year which we ran for 16 years with Saint Lukes Lifeworks in Stamford to feed the homeless. He then presented a brief description of the cultural and educational events we did since the last Annual Meeting on October 23, 2011. Links to events on our website are more complete than the brief verbal report presented at the annual meeting:
UConn Lecture by Harry Sakamaki, November 10, 2011, Movie: Sakuradamongai no Hen (Sakuradamon Incident), December 3, 2011
Oshogatsu 2012 This event was typical of our events – a fairly small family-oriented get together with an attendance of about 55. Although the event was well attended,  it was not sold out as it had been in the past. This is a problem that is not unique to the Japan Society of Fairfield County.  Attendance at events of other organizations in these times is less than it has been in the past.
140th Anniversary Lecture: The Iwakura Mission, February 25, 2012, Tohoku Earthquake, One Year After, March 3, 2012
Three origami classes were held during the year.  They were organized by Naomi Manning and Yoko Kawai.  The first event was held on March 22 at West Shore Middle School in Milford by Yoko.  Naomi lead origami  classes on August 8 and August 22 at the Fairfield Library and at Bright Horizons in Orange.
Lecture: On March 24 Assistant Professor Hideo Watanabe of William Paterson University spoke about two individuals from the west who contributed to the modernization of  Japan: James C. Hepburn, who invented the Hepburn romanization system and Guido F. Verbeck, a foreign advisor employed by the Meiji Government (oyatoi gaikokujin) at the Greenwich Public Library.
First Stamford Sakura Matsuri with Mill River Collaborative, May 5, 2012 Harry Sakamaki deserves most of the credit for starting the work with the Mill River Collaborative and providing the information they needed to bring in the required talent. Many of our members made major contributions to this program.  Unfortunately one of these efforts came to naught.  Yoko Kawai and Takaya Kurimoto planned a Japanese Garden for the event but it was not possible to build the garden on site the day before the event because of bad weather. We are planning to work with the Mill River Collaborative on this program in 2013 and are hoping to do better.  The site on which we held Sakura Matsuri in Mill River Park was not fully developed and we expect to have a better location within the park for 2013. The performances on the Main Stage, the animae tent, the Origami and Sumi workshops, the tea cermony tent, the Ikebana displays, the kimono dressing, and the stilt performers from Miz Liz were all well received.
On June 2, Grant Ujifusa and Lorraine Hong spoke at the Westport Library on the Japanese American Experience during World War II.  Grant Ujifusa was a key player in securing the passage of the historic Civil Liberties Act of 1988 .  Lorraine Hong nee Reiko Miyahara spoke of her family's experiences before WWII and in the Amache Relocation Camp in Colorado.  Jack and Lorraine hosted a reception after the event.
Movie: The Sirota Family and the 20th Century, June 12, 2012, Bon Odori, July 7, 2012, Jesup Green, Westport
On August 4, Otsukimi was held at the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden in North Salem, New York, featuring a catered dinner, tea ceremony and koto/shakuhachi concert. We have a reciprocal membership relationship with the Hammond. I hope our members would take advantage of this.  Otsukimi at the Hammond is remarkable.

Diane Caminis presented the treasurer's report for the year.
EVENT                                                RECEIPTS DISBURSEMENTS     GAIN 2012
OSHOGATSU                                      $1,625.00   $2,160.47       $ (535.47)
2/25 IWAKARA TALK                        $45.15                               $(45.15)
3/24 WATANABE LECTURE              $21.06                               $ (21.06)
3/3 TOHOKU COMMEMORATION $515.00                             $ (515.00)
5/4 SAKURA FESTIVAL                    $130.00       $204.31         $ (74.31)
6/12 SIROTA FAMILY FILM              $147.00       $250.00         $ (103.00)
7/7 BON ODORI                                 $37.00         $673.01         $ (636.01)
11/4 ANNUAL MEETING                  $400.00                             $ (400.00)
EVENTS TOTAL                                $1,939.00     $4,269.00     $ (2,330.00)
MEMBERSHIP                                   $2,747.50                          $2,747.50
DONATIONS                                     $260.00                               $260.00
GENERAL EXPENSES                                           $1,015.34     $ (1,015.34)
TOTAL                                                $4,946.50     $5,284.34     $ (337.84)

Harry Sakamaki conducted the elections of officers and board members for 2013.
Officers, Past and Present, and
      Distinguished Visitors     New officers and directors were elected to serve one year terms in 2013 and are listed on the organization page. Four changes in leadership were made: Mito Mardin was elected Vice President to replace Yumi McDonald who served the Japan Society of Fairfield County for many years.  Diane Barton volunteered to serve as Secretary and was elected to replace Howard Jaffe who served since 1998. Mayumi Kleinman and Naomi Manning were elected to fill the board seats vacated by Naoki Achiwa and Marilyn Moore.
A program of entertainment followed which began which a lecture by Dr. Mito Mardin on "Japan Turkey Relations, Past and Present". Vernon then spoke Tokushima and Awa Odori.
    We welcome volunteers to help run our society and serve as future directors and officers. Involvement now trains one for future leadership.

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